By Wandoo Sombo
Abuja, June 1, 2023
Retired Capt. Joe Agada, the first witness of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), that he was forced to sign the result sheet of the presidential election.
Agada also told the court that other agents of the party were equally forced to sign the result sheets of the presidential election at their separate polling units and at the state level.
Agada, giving his evidence-in-chief before the court on Thursday in Abuja said that he was the Kogi Collation Officer for PDP in the Feb. 25 presidential election.
He alleged that ballot papers and result sheets were manipulated by compromised electoral officers in collusion with agents of other political parties.
Led in evidence by Atiku’s lead counsel, Mr. Chris Uche SAN, the witness alleged that he was present in several polling units where Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines (BVAS) were manipulated.
Agada told the court that he visited over 20 polling units in the state and watched as PDP agents were being forced to sign the result sheets as a condition for the agents to be given a copy of the result sheet.
Under cross examination by INEC’S lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Aliyu, SAN, the witness claimed to have voted at Ogugu in Olamaboro but that he was allowed to move round to monitor the election because of the special election duty tag provided by INEC to party agents.
While being cross examined by Mr. Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel to President Bola Tinubu, the witness insisted that he signed the result sheet only because it became clear that INEC would withhold it if he didn’t sign.
Agada who admitted giving evidence for Atiku in 2019 told the court that he did not put his grievances against the election in his witness deposition on oath.
When being cross examined by Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the witness admitted to relying on the information given to him by other agents of the party to draw his conclusions.
For his part, Mr. Solarin Adekunle, the second witness for the petitioners and the Ogun Collation Officer said that he refused to sign the collated results in protest against electoral malpractices.
Adekunle specifically alleged that election results were inflated prompting him to decline signing the result sheets.
For his part, Rep. Uzoma Abonta told the court that the election was a nullity on the grounds that there were so many irregularities, discrepancies and noncompliance with rules of the Electoral Act.
Abonta said that because INEC failed to electronically transmit election results, what was declared did not reflect the genuine wish of the people of Abia where he is from and where he voted.
Having called three witnesses, the petitioners asked for an adjournment.
Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned further hearing in the petition until Friday.